Friday November 21, 2014

NationsWEST Field House now open

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Photo by John Cairns

The ribbon has been cut for the opening of the new NationsWEST Field House in North Battleford. It was the final component to open as part of the Credit Union CUPlex. Chief Wayne Semaganis of Little Pine, Chief Duane Antoine from Poundmaker, Mayor Ian Hamilton of North Battleford, Chief Richard Okemow from Lucky Man, Chief Felix Thomas (board chair of SIGA), CUPlex fundraising co-chair Heath Gabruch, Parks And Recreation Director Keith Anderson, and CUPlex fundraising co-chair Rob Rongve took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The NationsWEST Field House is now officially open in North Battleford.

Officials cut the ribbon Tuesday morning to open the facility, which features an indoor soccer turf, a rubberized court area and a 220 metre running/walking track among its amenities.

The facility also unveiled its official name, as selected by naming rights holder Battlefords Tribal Council.

BTC decided on the name “NationsWEST Field House.” According to Little Pine chief Wayne Semaganis, the name NationsWest was designed to be inclusive of all the area First Nations.

“Constantly we are working trying to eliminate the politics from our business end of things,“ said Semaganis. “For this community it has to involve everyone, so it's not just focusing on Battlefords Tribal Council. It's for all the nations in the western half of Saskatchewan.”

He said it will bring more people into the community and also promote good health. “Constantly we are reading in the paper about unhealthy youth, and this gives them an opportunity to get healthy in a physical, active way.”

Semaganis said the facility will accommodate a wide range of age groups and keep people active throughout the cold winter months. He was also impressed with the indoor soccer field.

“If we had this when we were young, we'd still be playing soccer,” said Semaganis.

The field house opening means that all four components of the Credit Union CUPlex, including the theatre, curling rink and aquatic centre, are now open.

A large gathering of civic and First Nations officials, along with field house supporters, sponsors and those involved in recreation and various sporting activities in the Battlefords, were at the grand opening ceremonies. Also there were representatives from contractor Scott Builders.

Rob Rongve and Heath Gabruch, co-chairs of the $10 million fundraising effort for the CUPlex, also attended.

Already the facility has seen its first indoor sporting activity. This past weekend saw a Battlefords Volleyball Club team tournament take place at the facility.

Rongve was involved in that tournament, and said “we kicked some butt” as the girls' team from the Battlefords was victorious on the A side over a team from Saskatoon.

“Our girls were obviously thrilled to play in a facility like this,” said Rongve. “It really is quite an amazing facility and our team played up to make sure we did win.”

As well, people were spotted using the facility while the grand opening ceremonies were taking place, with one runner using the indoor track that circles the upper portion of the field house.

Mayor Ian Hamilton sees the completion of all the four CUPlex components as a turning point of sorts for the city.

“We're nearing the end of this particular chapter in the history of North Battleford, and I think it's a fantastic chapter,” said Hamilton, who adds “it's onwards and upwards.”

Hamilton noted there were “unbelievable comments” from those at the volleyball tournament from people he said were “incredibly impressed with not only this facility, but what is surrounding it as well.”

Parks and Recreation Director Keith Anderson was happy to see the often-delayed, but much-anticipated, fourth component of the CUPlex finally come to fruition.

“Getting the fourth baby born is a good feeling,” said Anderson.

He notes, however, there is still work remaining to keep the building busy and also to reclaim the construction site. Not yet finished is the entrance to the field house. A temporary wooden walkway was in place for the opening Tuesday. A local contractor will be hired to create a concrete entranceway this spring, with the City requesting a credit from general contractor APM for that portion of the work.

For more photos of NationsWEST Field House visit the photo galleries under the community tab.

“We're not totally out of the woods, but it sure feels good to get this part complete,” said Anderson.

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